For anyone who has ever attempted to hang a larger shelf or picture without the help of an assistant, the new 36-inch Black & Decker Gecko Grip Level might not change your life, but it should make it a bit easier. Simpler than an expensive (and overkill) self-leveling cross-line laser, this tool should prove very helpful for around-the-house leveling tasks. It adds some new features to a traditional torpedo level or aluminum level that allow a single person to easily do what normally takes two (or if you don’t have help it simply helps eliminate a lot of hassle and frustration).
The Black & Decker Gecko Grip Level with Accu Mark provides two “Gecko Grip” friction pads that keep the level in place while you hold it up with one hand. The grips push back into the level as you press it up against the wall so there is positive friction, keeping the level straight even on slightly uneven surfaces. The pads are also scuff-free, and Black & Decker claims they won’t harm even the lightest paint surfaces. The problem is they are too scuff-free—there isn’t all that much friction. They needed to be a bit more rubberized to reach their full potential. While we found the system to work most of the time, the level did still tend to creep over time since the Gecko pads were essentially smooth plastic.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. This new level adds two innovative Accu Mark targets which let you pinpoint exactly where on the wall you need to drill to mount your picture or shelf system. The way it works is that you can accurately position the targets while laying the level on top of the item you’re attempting to hang. In the case of a shelf or non-wire picture frame mounts, it allows you to space the Accu Mark targets at the exact points where you want your nail or screw. Now, just hold the Black & Decker Gecko Grip Level up on the wall and mark those positions you previously measured. Voila! The Accu Mark system eliminates guesswork and keeps you from having to drill multiple holes and perform complex measurements to find the correct location for your anchor points. It may not be the best thing since sliced bread—but it’s close.